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About Burns

Anatomy of the Skin
The skin is the body's largest organ. It serves as a protective shield against heat, light, injury, and infection.
Burns in Children
Detailed information on burns, burn types, classification of burns, and burn treatment
Burns Overview
Burns are a type of injury caused by thermal, electrical, chemical, or electromagnetic energy. Most burn accidents occur at home.
 

Types of Burns

Chemical Burns
Chemical burns can occur when strong acids or alkalies come in contact with the skin and/or the eyes.
Classification and Treatment of Burns
Burns are classified as first-, second-, or third-degree, depending on how deep and severe they penetrate the skin's surface.
Electrical Burns
Electrical burns occur when a child comes in contact with electricity, either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).
First-Degree Burns
First-degree burns affect only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. The burn site is red, painful, and dry, with no blisters. Mild sunburn is an example.
Heat or Thermal Burns
A heat-induced or thermal burn can occur when the skin comes in contact with any heat source, such as a cooking pan, an iron, a fire, a hot surface, or a hot, scalding liquid.
Preventing Burn Injuries
Here are safety tips: Periodically, check electrical plugs and cords for dirt or fraying. When cooking with hot oil, keep your child a safe distance from the stove. Teach your child to stay away from lighters and matches.
Second-Degree Burns (Partial Thickness Burns)
Second-degree burns involve the outer and middle layers of skin. The burn site appears red and blistered, and may be swollen and painful.
Third-Degree Burns
This type of burn destroys the top two layers of skin. Treatment for third-degree burns depends on the amount of body surface area affected.
 

Care of Burns

Burns: Symptom Management
Most children with burns have pain, which can be controlled with medication. They also usually experience itching at some point during the healing process.
Coping Emotionally
Your child's burn care and emotional recovery will continue when you leave the hospital. Along with the excitement, you and your child may also feel uneasy about what will happen next.
Home Wound Care
Your child may come home with unhealed areas that still require dressing changes. You will be instructed on how to change dressings before you leave the hospital.
If Your Child Has Difficulty Adjusting
Agitated behavior such as crying, sleep disturbances and nightmares, and repeated episodes of sadness are signs that your child may be having difficulty coping with stress.
Nutrition and Burns
A child who has been burned needs additional calories and protein to help him or her heal and grow.
Preventing Scars and Contractures
Most second- and third-degree burns cause scarring. Physical therapists will work with your child to prevent or reduce scarring.
When to Call Your Child's Doctor
These are reasons to call your child's doctor: signs of infection, uncontrollable itching, a scar that cracks open or splits.
 
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